PACE: Turkey to be full EU member when criteria met

Updated: 2008-01-16 11:32

ANKARA -- All European countries would accept Turkey's full European Union (EU) membership when it meets the criteria, Rene van der Linden, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), was quoted as saying by the semi-official Anatolia news agency on Tuesday.

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The visiting president of PACE indicated that "those European countries, which earlier signed a document indicating that they would accept Turkey's full membership of EU when it meets the criteria, should fulfill their commitments, including France."

"Turkey has exerted efforts to meet the criteria and the Turkish government is resolute to conclude reform process," said van der Linden, adding that Turkey should be a member of the EU and deserves it.

Mentioning the proposal of France to grant another status to Turkey instead of a full membership, he said that "we all should boost dialogue between cultures and religions to overcome the problems. I believe that misunderstandings about Turkey in the EU will finally change within dialogue process."

Turkey started formal EU membership talks in October 2005. So far it opened talks in six of the 35 policy fields that candidate countries are required to complete before accession.

The EU froze negotiations with Turkey on eight chapters in 2006 in response to Turkey's refusal to grant trade privileges to Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognize.

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